Decisive Campaigns Case Blue: Anatomy of a Disaster

My first dip back into the world of computer war games last year was Decisive Campaigns Case Blue.  I had just finished rereading William Craig's Enemy at the Gates (my second favorite book about war) when I read about this game.  I quickly bought it and jumped in with both feet, skipping the rules and learning on the fly.

A German soldier at Stalingrad.  The desolation is complete.  No game to my knowledge does an adequate job representing the scope of the fighting in Stalingrad.

Since then I've periodically opened the game to continue my saved Operation Uranus campaign.  I am playing as the Germans and working hard to avert the disaster I know is coming.  I've made some strategic decisions as the front commander that would have earned me a flight back to the Wolf's Lair and a firing squad and it's only turn 3.

It is a testament to how f'd up Hitler's control of the army was that you find the Germans and their allies spread so thinly.  To counter this, I immediately abandoned the southern drive and the oil fields at Baku in favor of shortening my lines to avert the Russian pincers I know are coming from both the north and the south.  I've tried to attack the Russian flanks around Stalingrad in anticipation of local attacks on 6th army and I've concentrated all of my limited airpower on small sectors of the front hoping to make a noticeable impact rather than spreading the Luftwaffe too thinly and accomplishing little.  The distance between my air assets for the front and the 6th army at Stalingrad is noticeable.  I know from my Stalingrad reading that this was a source of great frustration for General Paulus, the 6th army commander.

North and west of Stalingrad, the concentration of my air assets helped me turn a wide Russian armor breakthrough into a smaller one.  It also gave me time to move Romanian armored units and emergency Kampfgruppes into some sort of a secondary line west of the penetration.

The Russian breakthrough was originally 5 hexes deep and six hexes wide.  Concentration of my airpower has helped shrink the hole and delayed the advance long enough for Romanian forces, including armored units, to form into a line around Nishne-Astachoff.
  
South of the city only the German 29th motorized division and some Romanian forces stand between the Russian Army and glory.
Running room for the Russian tank armies when they materialize in the south.
Meanwhile German forces in the city are holding their own. I am continuously met by fresh Russian troops. I have little knowledge of what lies behind the forces I am engaged with so as I reinforce sectors or pull men back, I am doing so on educated guesses not based on any real intelligence from the game. The tangible absence of German or Allied reinforcements means a slow meat grinder death for 6th Army and company.

The fighting in Stalingrad.

Comments

Doug Miller said…
You remind me that I really need to get back to my Decisive Campaigns saved game that's been languishing now for a few months. Too many great games to play!
Chris said…
Doug, I feel that way every time I start the game up. I wish I played it more. It's immense but enjoyable.